30 Egyptian military officers among passengers

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More than 30 Egyptian military officers, one general, among passengers 6.16 p.m. ET (2325 GMT) November 1, 1999

By John Solomon, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP)  More than 30 Egyptian military officers who were in the United States for training, including at least one brigadier general, were killed in the crash of the EgyptAir jetliner, Clinton administration officials said Monday.

The officials said the officers were returning home after routine training in the United States that is part of the extensive military exchanges the United States arranges each year with Egypt, a key Middle East ally.

Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said some of the officers were visiting defense contractors, and others were involved in a variety of training programs, including some pilots associated with a U.S. helicopter program.

Bacon said he did not have exact ranks for the officers.

But two administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were a handful of "senior-level'' officers among the group, including at least one general.

U.S. diplomats and National Transportation Safety Board officials were working with the Egyptian government to sort out discrepancies about the ranks of some of the higher-level officers, the officials said.

"We're working to correct discrepancies that might exist between the ranks listed on the manifest and their actual ranks,'' an official said. "But we have confirmed at least one brigadier general.''

Bacon said U.S. officials believed the contingent numbered about 33 and were mostly pilots.

Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, behind Israel, and it has extensive interaction with the U.S. military.

In Cairo, EgyptAir deputy chairman Mohammed Shaheen said, "We do not ask the passengers their jobs. ... Our knowledge never includes their work.''

-- dw (y2k@outhere.com), November 02, 1999


Reuters added, citing "aviation sources," that three
of the Egyptian officers had not been checked in on the
passenger manifest
. This explains the discrepancy in
the number of victims, which press reports have given
variously as 214 and 217. Television reports Sunday
morning, later denied by US officials, said that the
Egyptair flight, which began in Los Angeles, had made
an unscheduled stop at Edwards Air Force Base, in the
Mojave Desert outside the city, before proceeding on to
New York.

Many questions raised

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), November 02, 1999.

This is probably the reason the press and government did not want to cover the stop at Edwards Air Force Base. How does one chose a safe flight when all this stuff is going on?

-- ALURKER (nobody@nowhere.com), November 02, 1999.

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